Guest Post Wednesday: Dirty Shirts, Beer Cans, & the Willingness to Be Community

This week’s guest post was written by our friend, Adam. Among his many talents are working with youth, making pizza, playing the guitar, piano, and harmonica–one of those play-by-ear-folks who always impress me–and getting the answers correct in the “Sports and Leisure” category of Trivial Pursuit. He spent his first year out of college living in community with us and, unintentionally, teaching us a lot about ourselves. Here he writes about beginning the next stage of his journey.

I moved in to my first apartment a few weeks ago and was uncertain what to expect.

After signing my life away to the management (which has gone down as one of the most nerve-wracking hours of my life so far), my two roommates and I walked over to our new building and up the stairs to our new home.

Now, in reality, the place is a little rough and in need of a little loving.  Or a complete remodeling.  But for the three of us, it was the beginning of new chapter in our lives.  The other two have recently graduated from college and are considering options for their respective futures.  For me, life is working two jobs and going to seminary.  We’re not looking to be too picky here.

Heading back to my car, my roommates notified me they needed to go back to campus to load up their cars so they could move in, leaving me alone with my father to take my furniture.  Saying goodbye to them, I started strategizing a gameplan for moving in and realized that I left my keys and cell phone on the kitchen counter of the apartment.

Drained, frustrated, and short on time (I had a final the next morning), I stood knocking on the front door where I was pretty sure no one could hear me.  However, to my luck, one of the folks on the first floor came out and opened the door for me.

With a stained tee, worn-in jeans, and dirty work boots, he said with his southern accent, “Ya look new.  Forget yer key?”

Embarrassed, I explained the situation and thanked him for coming out.

After a couple of trips (remembering my key, of course), the gentleman came back out and asked if I needed any help getting things upstairs.  “You don’t have to do that, we’ll be fine,” I responded.

“Nah, I got ya.  Here.”  Grabbing some boxes and bags, he headed towards the door and carried my stuff upstairs.

On our way back down, he stopped me at the front door.  “Hold on a sec.”  I waited for a few moments and my new friend came out with a Bud Light can, finished its contents, and crammed it underneath the door to hold it open.

“Keeps it from lockin’ ya out,” he explained.  Smart aleck.

Thirty minutes later, we were finished and I thanked the man for his help.

“Not a problem,” he smiled.  “We look after our own kind here.”

It was then that I remembered that community begins with willingness.  My southern gentleman, fresh off of a day at work which had to have been dirtier than my afternoon of class, noticed my need and responded.  I – although forced – accepted his offering and allowed him to help out.

Community is sustained by the willingness of members to provide for and receive from others.  Without it, we exclude ourselves from experiencing the gift of giving and blessing of accepting the efforts that strengthen a community.


Every Wednesday, Texas Schmexas features a guest post about community in all of its myriad forms. If you’re willing to share a story or meditation (or complaint!) about community with the readers of Texas Schmexas, please let me know. Click on “Guest Posts” for more information.

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